Weakness of a Flexible Constitution – Essay

Again, the constitution may be changed not to meet the exigencies of the time, but to satisfy the whims of the political majority. As Sidgwick says, “Valuable rules and institutions may be abolished in a transient gust of unpopularity and lose the stability given by antiquity and unbroken customs.” Flexible constitution therefore, is not suited to a country where the people have insufficient political training.

It is suitable only for a people whose political training has been carried to a high degree of perfection. “In that training two elements would be of vital consequence to the safety of the system: first, an accurate understanding of their political rights and duties, general among the citizens; second, sleepless vigilance to detect violations of the constitution, and the utmost promptness and energy to resist and punish them.”

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The rights of the people are liable to be encroached upon under a flexible constitution where the citizens are not vigilant.

A flexible constitution has also been criticised as the “plaything of judicial tribunals.” Again, there is a popular belief that a flexible constitution vests wide powers and a greater discretion in public servants. Finally, it is argued that a flexible constitution is not suited to democracies.

It has greater affinity for aristocratic societies. “The masses in a democracy are suspicious, if not hostile, to constitutional prescriptions which have not been formally enacted but which rest mainly upon custom and usage,” and all these customs and usages had been set by the aristocracy of the past.

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